Two representatives from Keep America Beautiful will be in Van Buren Sept. 13-16 to shoot a training video documenting the strides taken in keeping the city clean.
Keep America Beautiful is looking to document improvements in litter prevention, recycling and beautification in Van Buren since Keep Van Buren Beautiful, a KAB affiliate, began in 2006, said John Pope, Keep Van Buren Beautiful director.
KVBB is the only affiliate to be asked to take part in such a video, Pope said.
“This will reflect well on the City of Van Buren and KVBB,” Pope said. “It will probably wind up being on our national website. It’s a real honor.”
As part of a partnership between KAB and California State University-San Marcos, two university staff members will visit Van Buren to work on the video, Pope said.
“The question they’re going to ask is, what have we done over the last 11 years, and how have we done it, to change the behavioral attitudes of the residents of Van Buren,” Pope said.
Pope and other members of KVBB score the city each year section by section, on a scale of 1-4 with a score of 4 being the worst, he said. In 2006, the city scored a 2.75, but now it maintains a score of 1.3-1.5, Pope said.
“As we started to do cleanups on the weekends, that number started to go down,” Pope said. “What that shows is we have cut visible litter in half over that time period, and it remains so, which speaks to behavioral change.”
Pope was contacted a few weeks ago by Cecile Carson, Keep America Beautiful vice president for litter and affiliate relations, to do a video on KVBB’s successful cigarette litter prevention program, he said.
KVBB has been recognized in the past for its efforts to prevent cigarette litter. The affiliate uses KAB grants to provide cigarette urns throughout Van Buren and hands out about 300 pocket ashtrays each year, Pope said.
“I replied to her, that you can’t come here and just do one program - we’re successful in several programs,” Pope said.
Carson agreed. The focus of the 10-15 minute video was adjusted to include litter prevention, community service workers litter control, and recycling in partnership with the city and the Van Buren School District, Pope said.
KAB could use the video to train new affiliates or show it at the national conference, Pope said.
“It will be a training film and documentary, pretty much, on how to do things properly,” Pope said.
Pope put together a list of people to possibly be interviewed for the video. That list includes city and county officials, local civic organizations, school officials and KVBB executive members, he said.
“All of these groups have worked with us a long time,” Pope said.
KVBB has won several awards for its efforts, including the President’s Circle Award and cigarette litter prevention award from KAB, and the Shine award from Keep Arkansas Beautiful.
Pope also has been awarded for his efforts in heading the Van Buren affiliate.